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When I was a young girl, my parents were kind enough to let me know exactly where I stood when it came to my college fund. It was simple: I didn’t have one. If I was going to go to college (and I had already determined by that age that I WOULD go to college), then I would have to pay for it entirely by myself.
I began to penny pinch and scrape up change whenever and wherever I could. I would raid the washing machine after my mother did a load of laundry and pick out the pennies and nickles. I would pick up change whenever I saw it, and I would do odd little jobs for my mother or for neighbors in order to earn a few extra cents. I would save them in little containers in my room and when I had a dollar in change saved up, I would take them all up to the little convenience store we lived close to and trade them in for a loonie (a Canadian dollar coin). Then I would take that back home and save it until I had enough to trade for a five dollar bill, then a ten-dollar bill, and eventually a twenty-dollar bill. Once I had that, I asked my mother to open a bank account for me, which she did. I deposited my twenty dollars into my bank account and started saving my pennies and nickles again until I could deposit another twenty dollars. Before too long, I had one hundred dollars saved up before I was old enough to have a job or a real income of any sort. I was saving for college.
My tight-wad ways have held through for the majority of my life. In high school, my family lived out-of-town and I had to drive myself in to school every day. So I got a job, bought a car, and paid for my own insurance, gas, and repairs. I was completely self-sufficient by the time I was fifteen years old. I continued to save for college, every penny that I could spare. After I graduated high school, I knew that I could never move to the States and afford to go to school. Even though I had saved every single cent that I could manage, I still didn’t have enough to pay my way though even a semester at college. So I stayed in Canada for one year after high school, worked like crazy, saved like crazy, and was finally able to make my dreams a reality. By the summer following my final year of High School, I had enough saved up to pay for one year of college, even with the exchange rate, which was about 60% at the time.
Good money habits start young. When children learn to manage their own money, they learn a valuable life lesson. Some people may say that it isn’t right for a child to be worried about how they will pay for college when they aren’t even old enough to know that Santa Claus isn’t real. However, I know that I was able to successfully make my way through college without taking a single loan because of the good money management I learned as a youngster.
All that being said, I absolutely LOVE this illustration. It took me much longer than I had originally anticipated, but I thoroughly enjoyed creating it. I had mountains of trouble with the little boy’s hand holding the coin. I had to create it from scratch about three times before I finally got it worked out. My favorite part of this illustration is the graph that the boy has tacked to his bedroom wall plotting his money-saving progress.